Today at work I was confronted with a situation in which a person was showing disagreement to something I was saying regarding an issue that is important to me. Now a less calm version of me would have issued a challenge followed by a fierce debate. Now being that I was at work that most likely would have been the wrong choice, either because I would have gotten in trouble or the argument would have been fractured into meaningless pieces because of, well, work. So I walked away and despite coming up with a single pointed thing to say I refrained from engaging entirely. This is completely out of nature for me and frankly I felt somewhat proud that I had shown such restraint. It's an important issue but not one that people will switch their view on simply by debating or even discussing it. The other person's point of view was not affecting the way they treated customers or anything like that so there really was no need for a discussion especially since the other party didn't seem eager to have a discussion about it. I ended it by say "Well, that's what I believe." and a shrug.
I am still proud of my withholding skills, however there is that certain feeling that I could have changed a mind about something and didn't. As I think of it tonight I realize that confrontational debates don't help much in the conversion of ideas process and honestly most of the time people I disagree with use those tactics times 10. Now I must leave it up to life and it's natural process to hopefully change this person's mind. I know that most people reading this will know most of what I'm stating here already, but for me this is an epiphany of sorts. If someone says something offensive and I feel that it could offend someone other then me, I will say something. I can't help but recall the most poignant experience I had on this subject happening in a very casual exchange between me and a work friend from a previous location.
This coworker thought that all homosexuals got A.I.D.S if they just had sex with each other for long enough. It wasn't a virus that was passed around from one innocent victim to the next, as with any virus, but was actually contracted from the act of having sex with a same sex partner. I was shocked (and about 500 other emotions) especially since this person had worked in the medical field for many more years then I. I showed my dismay at the misconception but then explained to this person that it was just that, a misconception. They seemed baffled by this information, clearly illustrating that this was never even a possibility in the scope of how they learned of that horrible disease.
There was nothing angry or confrontational about the whole experience. For them it was informative, for me it was a clear sign that people are passing around a lot of bullshit about a lot of things in order to make it seem more terrible. The person today simply indicated a disagreement in something I said, and that was it. My debate-y mind wanted to GO, but ultimately I held back. Hopefully life will teach this person better then what their understanding is now, or maybe another opportunity will arise in which I can express my side. Perhaps today's experience will help me do it calmly.